LGBT Activists from Around the World React to Secretary Clinton's Speech

Published: December 7, 2011

December 9, 2011 – For this historic moment in the LGBT movement, the Council for Global Equality was privileged to bring 14 prominent LGBT activists from around the world to Geneva to be present for Secretary Clinton’s Human Rights Day speech. The Council applauds both Secretary Clinton for the pitch-perfect speech as well as President Obama for yesterday’s vital Presidential Memorandum addressing the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.

Reactions from LGBT human rights defenders from around the world who were on hand to witness the speech included these:

Arvind Narrain from the Lawyers Collective in India: “The Secretary made a passionate case for LGBT rights as gay rights while being very culturally sensitive. The generosity of mentioning the gains in South Africa, Brazil, India, and Nepal conveyed a wider sense of ownership of these issues.”

Sass Rogando Sasot from Society of Transsexual Women of the Philiipines: “The sincerity and courage of Secretary Clinton is an invitation for us to make the dignity of our common humanity the center and goal of our politics. Her speech is another step towards a world that’s more inclusive, fair, and compassionate.”

Polina Savchenko from the Russian LGBT Network: “Secretary Clinton’s point about ‘honest discussion’ is particularly important for Russia because we suffer from extreme ignorance. Discussion is shut down in our country. Her message about decriminalization was also very important in our country right now.”

Santiago Eder from Colombia Diversa: “It was extremely important that the Secretary of State of the United States of America introduced the concept that ‘gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.’ It was a very symbolic and historic moment for the gay liberation movement.”

Pauline Kimani of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya: “I really appreciated the speech. I loved the introspective parts and believe that the consultative process with these activists on the ground that was started today will continue for a lifetime!”

Adrian Jjuuko, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Uganda: “It was a very powerful speech – which very relevant in the context of Uganda. Coming from the stature of HC, it amplifies our voices for equality much much further. I’m sure its impact will be felt for years to come.

Rev. MacDonald Sembereka of the Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV/AIDS: “First and foremost, thank you Hillary Clinton and the U.S. government for starting a global discussion like never was done before. To me this has been a speech that touched all aspects of a discussion that we need to have globally. She covered all the pros and cons – and now the global discussion begins. I hope that the rest of the world takes it up.”

Anastasia Danilova of Gender DOC-Moldova: “It was very important speech for Moldova because we have no political will or support in our country for the human rights of LGBT people. That is why it is so important to have the high level of Hillary Clinton’s support for LGBT rights and freedoms. Personally, it was very empowering for her to talk about the importance of us – the LGBT activists.”

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